@entrope brings you a sad scene that will make you cry…

The Camellia Resistance

by
A. R. Williams

The entirety of India’s death came back to her in a memory so visceral
she heaved until she sat down on the cot in her cell and put her head
between her knees.

It had been July. They couldn’t afford the
environmental tax that went along with air conditioning. India had
gotten them into a basement apartment, so at least it wasn’t sweltering.
“Back when people used to smoke, they taxed cigarettes like this,”
India would say and Willow would think back to the illegal movies they
watched together, movies where it was socially acceptable—desirable
even—to smoke. The men with their rugged hands held up to their face to
light a cigarette, the women leaning back and looking indifferent. Not
many people knew those days even existed, but India knew, so Willow knew
too. 

“Now the government makes up for lost revenue by taxing
environmental impact. But we are smarter, Will. We live down here.”
India made it sound like they were playing at skipping school days. But
there was no “smarter” that explained going to bed hungry, or why Willow
wore her mother’s shoes, or why it was okay for Willow to crawl into
bed with her mom after a bad dream.

“We’re
different, pumpkin, that’s all,” India would say when Willow asked why
it was okay for them to touch skin to skin inside the apartment, but
they always had to wear gloves when they went outside. “Just about
everyone else is so afraid of dying they never get around to living. One
day, you and me, we decided not to be afraid anymore. Bring on the
germs. We aren’t running scared.”

But there is fear and then
there is watching your kid lose weight because there just isn’t enough
of anything to go around. India left Willow alone with the black and
white version of Count of Monte Cristo playing in the VCR and promised
to be back in an hour. It was an hour and a half, but she did come home.
She stumbled through the door like a drunk, but she hadn’t been
drinking. She was dying.

As an eight-year-old, Willow didn’t
know about social diseases and the lengths people will go to keep them
out of their beds. She didn’t know about state-sponsored prostitutes
that made good money and went through painful cell cleansing procedures
to ensure that they were clean enough for the high-powered politicians
and businessmen that purchased their time. She didn’t know about black
markets, that the Ministry controlled the cleaners and if you weren’t
already in the records, you couldn’t get one done. She’d never seen the
machines, the needles in each arm, pumping blood out, bathing it in a
series of chemical baths and light treatments before pouring it back
into the body. And that was from the state-run clinics. In the illegal
clinics, they used SaniCheck, diluted.

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After all, SaniCheck had proven safe in clinical trials, and it was readily available. For a little extra, they’d clean you twice as fast with twice as much SaniCheck, slip you back into the records and get you ready to work again if you made your money lying down.

So it didn’t make sense that India wouldn’t allow Willow to call the Health Ministry’s emergency line. Instead, India just coughed blood and cried blood and wiped it off of her skin when it broke through like beads of sweat. Willow held India’s hand. What else can you do when you’re eight? She died two days later. Willow pulled her from the bed into the bath, India’s limp feet dragging along the carpet leaving a faint trail of blood behind. Willow washed her mother with warm water, then dried her face and put makeup on her. There weren’t many ways India was conventional, but she never left the house without her mascara and Willow knew India wouldn’t have wanted anyone to see the softness around her eyes.

The men in hazmat suits burst through the door an hour later, their disembodied breathing filling the house with the whirring and clicking of automatic air purifiers. Willow was bare-armed, bare-handed, her pale skin exposed to the world and all the hazards therein. She was sitting on the edge of the toilet, studying the tub where her mother had been, when she overheard the two goons in their white blimp suits commenting. “Not a bottle of SaniCheck in the house. Not even the generic shit. No wonder the bitch died.”

Willow didn’t cry. She wasn’t even surprised. She knew what SaniCheck was. The teachers had it at school in dispensers at their hips. They took off their latex gloves, wiped their hands down with the stuff, then put on a new pair of gloves. They used designer gloves, with fingernails painted on them, and a slight tanned hue that almost passed for real skin.

But Willow saw the skin underneath: parched, flaking and old. Older than her teachers’ perfectly painted faces. Her mother’s hands were beautiful, even if Willow begged her mom to buy the latex gloves to be like other moms. India just laughed and kissed Willow on the forehead. Willow cringed. Other moms didn’t do that either.

Sitting in the Ministry’s jail, the memory was brand new, like it just happened yesterday, not almost twenty-five years ago. For the first time in her adult life, Willow understood what her mother had been trying to teach her about fear, about love, about accepting the good and the bad in the world and finding the beauty in both. Willow stayed bent over her knees and the motion sensors in the lab switched off the lights. The only sound left was the sound of Willow’s heart beating in time with the clock on the wall.


The Camellia Resistance

2044. Willow Carlyle is the youngest cultural epidemiology research director in the history of the Ministry of Health and is on the fast-track for further promotion until a night of passion shatters her carefully constructed life.

Marked and unemployed, Willow falls in with a band of dissidents. Everyone wants something. In the process of discerning friend from foe, Willow begins to unravel secrets that will shake the New Republic of America to its foundation.

About the Author

A.R. Williams is obsessed with language and myth, not just playing with words and making up stories, but with the real-world impact that our words have on the way we live. Words are the only puzzle that never gets boring, and writing is the only thing she has wanted to do consistently. Other interests, such as sewing and photography, become alternate means to feed the writing habit.

Ms. Williams feeds her obsession with curiosity: people, philosophy, technology, psychology, and culture. Living in Washington D.C. is a good source of inspiration. From the sublime heights of arts and achievement available for free at the Smithsonian to the bureaucratic banality of Beltway politics and scandals, it is a great city for fantasy, possibility, power, and consequence—ideal fodder for the fictional life. She lives between an ordinary external life filled with time cards, meetings, and deadlines; and an extraordinary imaginary world where anything is possible and everything is fueled by music.

Follow the entire Camellia Resistance tour HERE

* This tour is brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours*

Excerpt from The @DiscordTrilogy in July’s sad, emotional scene theme

July brings sad, emotional scenes. This is an excerpt from The Discord Trilogy a fantasy fiction trilogy.


 Excerpt from The
Discord Trilogy

She looks
like a medic, checking over a battle injured solider. His neck is ripped open,
and when she pushes the gaping wound closed, Blake’s head wobbles.

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay,” her
shaky voice pleads.
She thinks he can be saved.
Aggie sobs and buckles into Ruben. Cora,
Ann and Thomas stand over Tara helplessly. Kneeling next to Tara, I wrap my
arms over hers to still her hands. “He’s gone.”
She growls, twisting away from me. “No
he’s not!”
“Tara.”
“Daddy, you can do this, just hold on.”
“Tara…” The words stick in my throat, I
can’t say it.
He’s dead, Blake is dead. It wasn’t
supposed to be like this.
With quivering hands she picks up his
wrist, raising it to her lips, her voice cracking. “No it’s all right, I can
change you.”
I gently tug his cold lifeless wrist
away from her. “It won’t work now.”
Her trembles become more intense. “No,
no, no, no, no! DADDY!” she pulls his body toward hers, holding up his head
after it flops backwards from where his neck has been broken. The tears won’t
stop falling from my eyes. She hugs him, whimpering a deranged plea from the
utterly grief stricken.
What little blood he had left is soaking
into Tara’s clothes as she wails. “Please Alex tell me what to do.”
Tara’s grief breaks the dam for the rest
of them and the sisters lose it. Our chorus of agony drowns out the waves
crashing on the beach.
Thomas barely holds it together.
“Get them away from here,” I command. He
and Ruben quickly comply, grateful to pull the sisters away from their broken
father. They don’t need to see him bloodied and mangled any more than they
already have. As the sisters’ weeping fades only Tara remains kneeling,
clinging to what’s left of her father.
“Shhhhh, inamorata,” I wrap my arms around both her and Blake.
She rocks back and forth. “This is not happening!”
“Tara, you need to let him go.”
Agonizing minutes tick by. She just squeezes him harder.
“We need to get you cleaned up.” She doesn’t make any gesture in reply, her
eyes glassy and dull. After I scoop her off the ground she hangs in my arms
with her eyes closed. Back in the house Thomas and Ann have retreated to their
bedroom while Ruben and Aggie sit in the living room on either side of Cora.
Tara makes no move to help when I remove her blood stained clothes in the
shower. The sound of fabric ripping echoes in the bathroom before I turn on the
water. The warm water doesn’t visibly affect her. As I wash her off, her eyes
stare at Blake’s blood swirling down the drain.
My mind reels with questions.
What happened? Why did we not see this coming? How can we survive this?
 
The Golden
Apple of Discord – Book 1
***Winner of the Compulsion Reads Quality Book
Endorsement***

Taralie Severin and her three sisters are a powerful
coven of modern-day witches who banish mythical creatures in between classes
and shifts at the police station. But when Taralie is kidnapped by vampires and
converted into the undead, her sisters are ordered to execute her for crimes
against the Milunfran order. 

Refusing, the sisters become fugitives from both
their kind and vampires alike.


Abomination
– Book 2
Taralie Severin and her sisters have secured a
non-aggression pact with the rulers of the vampire world, the Noricum. Having
relocated to Cannon Beach, Oregon, Alexander prepares to marry his beloved
Tara. But when an encounter with average vampires goes wrong, the Severin
coven’s fragile amnesty with the Noricum is destroyed.

With the supremacy of
their rule challenged, the Noricum set out to restore the balance of power,
leaving the Severin family two choices – die on their feet, or live on their
knees.
Rubicon –
Book 3
Hidden away on a Caribbean island, Tara’s body
survived abomination while her mind did not.

Strangled from within by Verus’s
accumulated memories, the eldest Severin sister struggles under the weight of
so many conciseness inside her mind. But the Noricum are not idle, nor are they
forgiving. 

PURCHASE THE BOOKS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
in her own words…

‘I’m Lauren Hodge, a chemist turned author with three children, a lot of friends
no one else can see, and a swearing habit. Writing is something I stumbled into
on accident. 
I don’t write because I have a story
to tell. I write because there is a story inside my head and it’s merely using
my fingers to get out. I enjoy writing protagonists that are flawed and enemies
that aren’t. Not everyone is all good or all bad and I love the philosophical
process of defining that grey area.

There are two parts of communication. What is articulated and what is received
for only the latter can compel action. You, the reader, are more important than
me, the author. I relish understanding what you receive from my articulation.
To help with that, I have editors – lots and lots of editors. Editors are the
heroes authors need, but not the heroes they deserve. As an author, I strive
every day to be worthy of professional editors.

I’m the oldest of seven and have an identical twin/perfect organ donor.’

Sad scenes say so much…

Yeah, I know the song title is Sad Songs (say so much) by Elton John but for July’s theme I’m asking for the most tear-jerking scene in your novel (reading or writing).

Scenes should be no more than 500 words long. Make me cry! Send in your most emotional scenes, author media and book details (if you’re an author), if you’re a reader all you need to send me is the scene. My Email
Here’s my sad scene from Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love! Valerie Anthrope has finally realised that her past has much to do with how she is feeling. The house she lived in as a child is full of sad memories: the death of her baby brother, her parents and nan. Their deaths are all linked to a curse she received as a child. And now that her boyfriend has declared his undying love, she needs to get away before he becomes the next casualty.

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My house was unwelcoming. Its furnishings
tortured me in their familiarity. How could everything be the same, when inside
I was dying? I walked through the rooms. I no longer liked the home that I’d
grown up in. It was too full of memories; of my mum’s endless crying and of my
dad’s tortured eyes. In every room, I could still hear the echo of her sobbing,
and see the ghost-like image of my dad as he stood nervously on the side-lines.

   Suddenly, I could see myself as an eight-year-old
little girl. I was sitting on the stairs, watching the ambulance from the
opened doorway as the paramedics took Sean’s small body away. Mum and Dad had
followed them, their heads lowered and shoulders slumped, and every now and
then Mum’s body jerked with a tearful spasm. My nan was crying into a large
handkerchief and every time I asked what was happening and when Sean would be
better, she’d only wailed louder. The house represented everything I was hiding
from. There were no happy memories here. Only mourning.

Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love!

Amazon 

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Valerie Anthrope has a problem. Only she shies away from
acknowledging it. On the outside, she’s a cut-throat business woman running her
own financial brokerage. On the inside, she’s lonely, and frightened her past
will catch up with her.
And when it does, she’s not prepared. 
She’ll never be prepared for what awaits her.
Dark romance.